Daily Archives: August 13, 2009

4 armed robbers vs. 1 shopowner with shotgun. 1 beats 4

When four robbers stormed into a restaurant supply store up in Harlem and began pistol whipping an employee the 72-year-old owner pulled out his 12 gauge pistol-gripped shotgun and went boom boom boom. Got them all. Sounds like justice to me.

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They’re running for the hills

Senator Durbin (Democrat, Ill.) has cancelled all town hall meetings on health care and will hold quiet little conferences with health care professionals instead.  “I’m not scared to face the voters,” he said, “I just don’t have to.” Well no, he didn’t actually use those words, but it’s amusing to see all thes former glad-handing politicians too timid to appear in public these days. Screw them, says I.

UPDATE: Even the Messiah isn’t doing well in the town meeting format, so he’s changed it to a lecture (he outspoke his fellow citizens by a word count of 9:1) and planting 12-year-old little girls as “concerned voters”. Wag the dog.

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An Axis of Evil

Here's to you, America

Here's to you, America

Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid says Town Hall protestors are “evil mongers”. You will no doubt remember when George Bush was excoriated and ridiculed by the intelligentsia for using an old fashioned term like evil, but then, he was referring to enemies of our country, which makes them friends of the intelligentsia. Protesters against collectivism and looters, on the other hand, are thwarting the People’s will. Got that? Good. Now shut up.

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Nobody’s going to steal this house!

44 Close Road was built in 2003 and has sat empty ever since. The current owner paid $9.5 million for it in January ’05 and, convinced that he’d struck a bargain, immediately re-listed it for $12.5 million. Three million dollars in appreciation over three months must have struck potential buyers as … odd, and they stayed away in droves. The price has inched downward ever since, landing at $10.995 September 5, 2008 and sticking there. Today, the owner finally blinked, and chopped it all the way down to $10.495. That should do it.

One bright spot – although he must have been sorely tempted, the owner did not hire the same decorators he used to dress up his other house at 1038 Lake Avenue so that when a buyer is found for this one he can modernize it, but need not call in the exterminators.

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People will line up for anything that’s free

NYT 8/13/09: thousands line up for free health care.

Black Voices 5/6/09: KFC cancels promo for free chicken after crowds swamp stores

In short, big friggin’ deal.

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Les Paul dead at 94

Well that was a nice long life for the guitar maker. Amazing guy but it occurred to me once that had my friends in garage bands back in the 60’s held on to their Les Paul guitars, they’d have made far more money from that simple act than in all the rotten school gyms I carted them around to. Going price these days is $18,000 – $25,000.

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He’ll be back from his junket tanned, rested and ready to go

Himes (left) at Lawrenceville Prep

Himes (left) at Lawrenceville Prep

Jim Himes will hold a meeting about ObamaCare September 2nd. His people (those who aren’t with him on the junket) assure us that there will be no discussion about the FAA this time.

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She was screwed (2X) by Madfoff, she’d now like to do the same for you

Let me at that bitch

Let me at that bitch

A woman named Sheryl Weinstein has a book coming out saying that she and Bernie had an affair and he then stole her husband’s money. Exactly how interesting can a story about a then 40 – year-old mother and fundraiser betraying her husband be? Happens in every suburb, all the time. Even her publisher at St. Martins doesn’t promise much:

In addition to details of the affair, the hardcover book will include photographs and intimate descriptions of Madoff, Murphy said. He declined to provide an advance copy of the book, which he said was “a fast read’ and was ghostwritten. The cover price of the 224-page book is $23.99, according to Amazon.com.

I would think you’ll be able to  pick this up as a toilet read for a few bucks a month after publication but to save you even that sum, and because this is a full service blog, here’s an example of her prose, which should suffice:

“For months after Dec. 11, I would wake in the dark hours of the night and early morning and to my horror realize that there were no calming, soothing words I could say to myself because it wasn’t a dream,” Weinstein said at Madoff’s sentencing. “The monster who visited me was true, a reality.”

Her days were filled, she said, with a “deep, heavy depression,” and the sight of food left her “sick, unable to escape the reality of my personal devastation. At times I could not even bear to be alone.”

She can always try her hand at romance novels, I suppose. But how pathetic to embarrass her husband, her children and if possible, herself, for a promise of a book advance? Show some pride, Sheryl – I’d tell you to suck it up but you might misunderstand.

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Are lawyers this dumb? You bet they are

Stamford Marriott  claims woman’s own negligence led to her rape.

STAMFORD — A downtown hotel being sued by a woman raped at gunpoint in its parking garage is claiming she was careless, negligent and “failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities,” according to court documents.

The victim’s attorneys also argue the hotel has inadvertently identified her to acquaintances by asking them to testify.

The Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa, along with the firms in charge of managing the hotel and its parking garage, made the claim as part of a list of special defenses filed in state Superior Court in Stamford last month. Such defenses allow defendants in civil suits to argue they are not responsible for damages even if the plaintiff’s story is true.

The special defenses, and the plaintiff’s argument against them, are a few of the documents filed in a series of arguments and counterarguments as the case heads for trial, scheduled for April.

The woman filed the lawsuit in May 2008, six months after Danbury native Gary Fricker, 56, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after a plea deal in the case.

On Oct. 10, 2006, Fricker stuck a handgun in the back of the then 40-year-old woman and forced her and her children, then 3 and 5, into their minivan as they left the hotel, according to court documents.

She let him go through her wallet and told him he could take it, but Fricker demanded she take off her clothes.

Now I understand the rules of pleading, and I understand that negligence on the part of the plaintiff is a special defense that must be specifically pled if it is to be used at trial, but sometimes, just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. What kind of moron executive at Marriott, faced with the rape of a guest at gunpoint in the presence of her children thinks, “yeah, we’ll expose her identity and blame her! Maybe she was wearing a tight skirt, ya think?” I’m sure I don’t have the experience Marriott’s attorneys do but I’ve faced a number of juries and I can’t think of anything more certain to inflame them and generate sympathy for the plaintiff than to try this defense. I hope they don’t settle and I hope the jury makes an award that punishes Marriott for even attempting to employ this tactic. Stupid.

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Come here, Granny, and check out this cool boat we got for you

Ok, no cable, but UHF reception's great!

Ok, no cable, but UHF reception's great!

When medical care is rationed, the biggest users will be the biggest losers.

With Obamacare, medical spending will be like baking one pie for three siblings. If one sibling gets a bigger piece that automatically means the other two siblings get smaller pieces. The one-pie system has a built-in automatic source of conflict.

The elderly consume 70% of all health-care spending.[updated here and here] That means that when it comes to cost control they will bear the brunt of the burden. If we don’t cut spending on the elderly we can’t reduce costs without simply denying care for everyone else. When it comes down to a choice between spending on old people and children, the elderly know full well who we are going to pick.

When Quinn the Eskimo gets here,  every old one is gonna die.

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A good start

The weekly “Green Sheet”, the Greenwich Association of Realtor’s effort to keep members up on the news, lists 34 agents who have dropped their membership. Scrolling that list, I saw one agent who has died, two who moved away and the rest I’ve never heard of. What were these people thinking, paying thousands of dollars for membership each year when they were selling nothing? Heck, if all you want to do is tour over-priced mansions, I’ll sneak you in for just $100 per. Call me.

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Drat, a good one went to contract

1 Kernan Place

1 Kernan Place

I really liked this house on Kernan Place, off of Tomac and right on the Innis golf course. It last sold for $1,829,500 in a bidding war back in 2001 (ask was $1.775) and was extensively updated/renovated in 2005. It came up for sale in April 2007 for $3.650 and gradually dropped over the next two years to $2.395, which made it a real bargain in my opinion. I’ve been urging a few customers to come see it but summer vacations have gotten in the way and today it’s reported under contract. Good for the sellers and the buyer, bad news for my clients – hope they enjoyed their vacations!

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Don’t blame me, blame the owners of 34 Perna Lane

34 Perna Lane

34 Perna Lane

First listed at $975,000 in October ’07, this house sold yesterday for $627,500. That’s a good price – assessment is $515 – but what will it do to the would-be sellers of 36 Perna, who are asking $799 (down from $899) and 21 Perna, asking a cool million? I have some thoughts on the matter but I’ll keep them to myself.

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First thing we do, let’s bail out the developers

Dem0nstrating once again his hatred for free markets and his determination to socialize the economy, Congressman Barney Frank (who, it should be noted, didn’t mind when his page-boy lover engaged in a little free enterprise by running a brothel from  their apartment) has introduced legislation to bail out real estate developers. Here’s the deal: during the bubble, some big time developers bought rent controlled apartment buildings in the hope of converting them to non- rent controlled status and making a killing. Didn’t happen, and now they’re losing their buildings to other developers/investors, who are paying pennies on the dollar. Fine, right? Risk reward and punishment. The system is working just fine. But Barney’s got friends, I suppose, as do his co-sponsors of the bill, who want us taxpayers to help them out. So, under the guise of yet another “emergency” and to keep these buildings from deteriorating, we’ll toss in billions of dollars and the developers can avoid bankruptcy. Sounds like a great deal, just not for us.

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The Senate goes for populism over economic reality – there’s a surprise

The U.S. Senate wants a carbon cap and trade market because some economists tell them that that’s an efficient way to address global warming. I have my (strong) doubts about this pending boondoggle anyway, but now comes word that the senators want to keep Goldman Sachs and other large banks from participating in the market because they’ll get rich (duh). I think, if the senators will jet back to Washington and consult with their economists, they’ll learn that there must be liquidity for this plan to have even a hope of succeeding. Take away liquidity – bar the banks – and you have nothing. Unless, of course, politicians can come up with a plan to use taxpayer money, controlled by Washington, to run the scheme. Could they do that? Nah, they wouldn’t even dream of it.

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Maybe we should try this approach with Congressmen like Sheila Jackson

Teacher fined $22,000 for making personal phonecall while on duty. And charge double when they call from their Gulfstream.

If you want to see your tax dollars, if not a Congressman,  at work, here’s Ms. Jackson.

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Well, it must have seemed like a good idea at the time

A friend and fellow realtor, correctly assuming I wasn’t on this particular email list, forwarded an invitation to bid on a “bank-approved short sale” for 18 Bowman Drive, minimum bid $1.4 million. I’ve written about this house from time to time since it was built back in 2006 and listed for $2.685 million. Nice new house, 5,000 square feet, but on a back lot with a water tower and an old graveyard behind it. Nothing wrong with either improvement, of course, but some buyers shy away from such things and I suggested, to the listing agent’s ire, that $2.7 was going to be hard to get.

So is $1.4 the right price? It’s certainly more realistic – the town’s assessed value is $1.735, and I’d think it would be attractive to a Westchester family that wanted to escape that county’s taxes while not abandoning their friends in their former town. So yeah, something around this price should be a reasonable deal. I don’t know what the builder paid for this – he saved a commission and bought direct, I think – but he’s not coming out of this one with much left of his shirt. His loss could be your gain, as we like to say in this business.

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